Lee Hsien Yang asks PM: Was father unwavering in his demolition wish?

Mr Lee Hsien Yang said he and his sister have not interacted with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in his capacity as the chair of a ministerial committee considering options for the Oxley Road house.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang said he and his sister have not interacted with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in his capacity as the chair of a ministerial committee considering options for the Oxley Road house.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang yesterday posed the question of whether his late father Lee Kuan Yew was unwavering in his wish to demolish his house at 38, Oxley Road, in his first response to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's latest statement on the dispute.

In a Facebook post yesterday morning, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said: "We asked a simple question, that he (PM Lee) has refused to answer for a week: Was our father, Lee Kuan Yew, unwavering in his demolition wish? Yes or no?"

In a later post, he also clarified that he and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, have not interacted with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in his capacity as the chair of a ministerial committee considering options for the house.

This follows a statement issued by DPM Teo last Saturday, when he revealed the committee's members and its scope of work.

DPM Teo had said he has shared some of the options being studied for the house with the Lee siblings.

In response, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said yesterday that he and Dr Lee had met DPM Teo on numerous occasions "apart from and well before the formation of the committee".

"During those discussions, we had explored a wide range of options as well as concerns we had regarding Lee Hsien Loong and his family.

"DPM was always careful to preface his remarks that any views he expressed were personal views," he said.

He added that National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who sits on the committee and first informed the siblings of it, has not given any indication of the range of options under consideration either.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang also denied PM Lee's assertion that he and his sister were unhappy that 38, Oxley Road was bequeathed to their older brother as part of his equal share of Mr Lee's estate.

"Wei Ling and I never had any objection to LHL receiving an equal share of the estate. We object to LHL's flip-flopping about Lee Kuan Yew's demolition wish," he said.

PM Lee has previously stated that as a son, he wants the house demolished to honour his father's wishes.

He has recused himself from all government decisions concerning the house.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang did not immediately address the other points PM Lee made in the statement he issued on Monday, his first day back at work from a vacation.

In that statement and an accompanying video, PM Lee had apologised to the nation for the harm caused by the protracted and publicly aired dispute with his siblings.

He will make a ministerial statement to refute the "baseless accusations" his siblings made last week against the Government, when Parliament sits on July 3. PM Lee said the "serious allegations", first aired in a six-page statement by his siblings last week, went beyond private and personal matters, extending to the conduct of his office and the integrity of the Government.

"Much as I would like to move on, and end a most unhappy experience for Singaporeans, these baseless accusations against the Government cannot be left unanswered. They must be and will be dealt with openly and refuted," he said.

In his statement, PM Lee also said he had "done everything possible to avoid this state of affairs" and had tried to deal with his siblings' unhappiness privately, to no avail.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Lee Hsien Yang asks PM: Was father unwavering in his demolition wish?'. Print Edition | Subscribe